After quite a long rest, the Magnolia Hotshots will be back in action this Saturday, as they go up against the surging NLEX Road Warriors. Both teams are on a two-game unbeaten streak, but which between them will go back to back to back?
Catch this game live on Saturday, July 2 at 7:15 pm, Manila time.
The NLEX Road Warriors (4-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kevin Alas
- SG: Don Trollano
- SF: Calvin Oftana
- PF: Anthony Semerad
- C: Justin Chua
Not that he needed to remind us of it, but Calvin Oftana is the real deal. Oftana continues to impress the Road Warriors, as he paced the team in their 114-108 overtime win Thursday night against the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters. Oftana exploded for 22 points to go with 10 rebounds and 7 dimes. He also hit four 3-pointers on seven attempts, showing just how lethal he is becoming offensively. With Oftana coming into his own, Road Warriors head coach can afford to further toy around his starting unit’s configuration; Kevin Alas, arguably still the best player of the Road Warriors, came off the bench against Phoenix and dropped 18 points in 37 minutes.
Having Oftana start laying waste on opposing defenses and then joined later on the floor by Alas almost sounds sadistic, and that’s a problem for Magnolia to worry about. NLEX’s offensive attack is looking way better than the Hotshots, who are struggling to find their rhythm, as evidenced by the fact that they are second-worst in the league in offensive rating (93.6).
The Magnolia Hotshots (3-3)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Mark Barroca
- SG: Jio Jalalon
- SF: Calvin Abueva
- PF: Ian Sangalang
- C: Rafi Reavis
Despite spotty attendance records of their top two players, the Hotshots are .500 after six games in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup. They won their last two games, including their 95-77 win over Phoenix on June 24, with both Calvin Abueva (suspension) and Paul Lee (injury) sidelined. Lee might not still be back as Magnolia wants him to be at 100% before deploying him back to action. Abueva, on the other hand, could make his return this Saturday.
The former San Sebastian Stags star is a game-changer whenever he is out on the floor, able to do a bit of everthing. He is someone who can anchor the perimeter defense of Magnolia, which is already doing a fine job this conference. The Hotshots are fourth in the PBA in defensive rating (92.3). Plus, Ian Sangalang should be a handful for NLEX’s frontline. So far this season, Sangalang is averaging a near double-double of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50 FG%.
Spread: Magnolia (-2.5) covers.
Over/Under: Taking the Under (179.0).